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Potentially 'millions' in damage to Oswego from Lake Ontario

Payne Horning
WRVO News File Photo
This dock detached from the Oswego International Marina during a recent storm that produced 11-foot-high waves. The historically high water levels on Lake Ontario this year have taken a toll on Oswego and many other municipalities along the shoreline.

This year's flooding along Lake Ontario has taken a toll on municipalities, exhausting their resources and threatening their infrastructure. That's the case in Oswego where the city recently took an inventory of the destruction caused by the unprecedented water levels.

Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow says the damage to the city was mostly isolated to flooding in the marina earlier in the season. But he says the situation has worsened with every storm system, like the one that produced 11-foot waves this past weekend.

"It’s pretty alarming and the level of damage is getting exponentially worse as the conditions stay the same - a constant disaster, if you will," Barlow said. "It’s not like one storm comes and passes the water remains high."

The flooding has damaged a municipal storm sewer pump station, the city's marina and pier and caused coastal erosion along Breitbeck Park and the Oswego river walk. Barlow says the issues, which he estimates could cost millions to repair, has been documented so the city can apply for part of the $10 million in state aid that the governor is offering to municipalities.

Barlow says these records could also be used to help the federal government understand the extent of the damage and possibly help persuade them to issue a disaster declaration for all of the communities that are suffering.

"We're all really experiencing some of the same problems, and with that comes funding and assistance to help fix some of the damage and some of the issues," Barlow said. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.